Outposts

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Category: Sea serpents

Giant Humboldt squid return to waters off San Diego

Divers Pete Thomas, left, and Rocio Lozano witness a Humboldt squid catch in the Sea of Cortez near La Paz, Mexico. For those wanting to try a different angling adventure, Humboldt squid have returned to waters off San Diego.

These giant, cannibalistic creatures look like something out of a horror or science-fiction flick and are reportedly a lot of fun to catch.

Also called jumbo squid, they were once found primarily off South America and have slowly expanded their territory and are now believed to have become permanent residents off the West Coast.

Humboldt squid can reach up to six feet and weigh as much as 100 pounds, and can eject themselves from the water and glide through the air to escape predators.

To take advantage of the squid's return, San Diego's Seaforth Sportfishing is now sending the New Seaforth out for nightly angling trips from 4 to 10 p.m.

Reservations can be made via the Seaforth website or by calling (619) 224-3383. 

One note: Raincoats are mandatory, as these feisty fighters will douse their predators (in this case the angler who hooks them) with gallons of cold sea water and/or ink, according to Philip Friedman of 976-Tuna.

--Kelly Burgess

Photo: Divers Pete Thomas, left, and Rocio Lozano witness a Humboldt squid catch in the Sea of Cortez near La Paz, Mexico. Credit: Jim Knowlton

Lecture on sea jellies Thursday at Aquarium of the Pacific

Sea nettle Senior marine biologist Monty Graham will be discussing the mostly mysterious jellyfish during his lecture "The Stinging Truth Behind Blooms of Sea Jellies" Thursday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Aquarium of the Pacific.

The event will focus on sea jellies (commonly referred to as jellyfish, though they are not fish), their populations and the possible influence that human activity might have on sea jellies in coastal marine ecosystems.

Graham has extensive knowledge of the gelatinous blooms, with recent research focused on the role of climate in jellies-fish dynamics.

In addition to his published scientific papers on sea jellies, Graham is also the author of children's books on the topic.

Admission is $8 for the public, $4 for Aquarium members and complimentary for Pacific Circle members and students (with valid I.D. and advance reservations).

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (562) 590-3111, Ext. 0.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Sea nettle. Credit: Aquarium of the Pacific


Monster sturgeon (photo): Where will it surface next?

1,000-pound sturgeon

Sea monsters do not exist. Or do they?

The sturgeon in the accompanying photo was caught at some point in time, on some body of water, most likely on the Fraser River in British Columbia, Canada, in 2005.

The photo was sent to Outposts this morning by 976-TUNA's Philip Friedman.

Friedman posted the photo on his website, briefly, with a caption stating the fish was caught two weeks ago, after a six-hour fight involving four anglers, on the Willamette River below Oregon City in Oregon.

Turns out, the photo has been surfacing sporadically since 2005.

"There are versions that claim the fish was caught in the Rainy River, Minnesota, in Willamette River, Oregon, a lake in Oklahoma, a river in Texas, and various other locations, some of which do not even have fish of that size or species," explains the Hoax Slayer website.

Hoax Slayer determined the beast to have been caught on the Fraser River in 2005. It weighed about 1,000 pounds and measured 11-plus feet. And the behemoth -- white sturgeon are the largest freshwater fish in North America -- was released alive.

That is, according to legend.

-- Pete Thomas

Sea monster from Sea of Cortez resurfaces in shape of an oarfish

A 15-foot oarfish that surfaced last year in the Sea of Cortez is hoisted by three adults who made the discovery.

Who said there are no sea monsters?

The 15-foot oarfish in a photo being passed around by Bill Roecker of Fishingvideos.com was actually taken in May 2007 at Baja California's East Cape region, near Rancho Leonero Resort, by Troy Tinney of Encinitas.

These bizarre denizens, who occupy the dark depths most of the time, occasionally surface, usually dead or dying. A few have been discovered in recent years in the Sea of Cortez.

They can measure 50-plus feet and undoubtedly -- with their long, oar-shaped fins and crimson manes -- are among species to have spawned tales of sea serpents among ancient mariners.

You may recall the surfacing of a live oarfish in 2006 inside a bay at Santa Catalina Island. Harbormaster Doug Oudin donned snorkeling gear and swam alongside the fish, before it died, and described its coloring as "metallic silver with bright blue-brown spots and splotches, along with its amazing pinkish-red full-length dorsal fin."

Their modern discovery may date to 1808, when a 56-foot serpent-like creature washed ashore in Scotland. In 1901, a 22-foot oarfish drifted onto the sand in Newport Beach, becoming, according to one reference book, "the basis for many sea-serpent stories told by local bar patrons for more than a decade after its discovery."

The oarfish in the photo looks to have had its tail bitten off. In the Sea of Cortez, apparently, there is no dignity in dying.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A 15-foot oarfish that surfaced last year in the Sea of Cortez is hoisted by three adults who made the discovery. Credit: Troy Tinney

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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.



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